Women's History Month - Elizabeth Blackwell

The first woman to receive a medical degree in the US.

Queen Ranavalona III of Madagascar

The last Ruler of Madagascar.

She's Crafty - Microscopic Edition!

Some really cool science inspired crafts!

Happy Birthday - Septima Poinsette Clark

The "Queen Mother" or "Grandmother of the American Civil Rights Movement."

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Rosie Rally 2015

Did you know I'm a Guinness World Record holder? Well... sorta.

On Saturday, August 15, I joined a bunch of other folks young and old dressed up as Rosie the Riveter* at the Rosie the Riveter Memorial Park in Richmond, California, for the Rosie Rally!

The Rosie the Riveter Museum hosted the event to try to beat the existing Guinness World Record for people dressed up at their favorite female icon, set last year at the Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Michigan, when they gathered 776 Rosies and Rosie lookalikes.

It was a fantastic afternoon! I got to meet some many really interesting and inspiring women. We sang songs, danced, took lots of pictures, and -- most importantly -- came together to commemorate the amazing women who worked so hard on the assembly lines to not only help the US win the war, but to carve out a place for women in history. Plus... I mean... a park full of people dressed up as a feminist icon? How awesome is that?!

Monday, August 24, 2015

TV Night - Switched at Birth

"Sometimes I just wish I could be Daphne. Not deaf, not hearing, just a girl playing basketball."

In the autumn of 2012, I was taking a full load of college classes, working toward my degree. One of my favorite classes that semester was an Adaptive PE class, in which we learned about how to modify physical education and recreational programs for people with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities. It was also during this time that I discovered season 1 of Switched at Birth on Netflix, and watched it all in one week during break. I was impressed with the show's handling of the specific issues facing the deaf and hard of hearing.

Flash forward three years, and I realized that while I'd stopped after watching season 1, the show had kept going. Two weeks ago I went looking for a new show to watch on Netflix, and found that there were three* more seasons of Switched at Birth to catch up on! Of course, I got started immediately. And I'm so glad I did. Not only was it as good as I remembered, it actually got increasingly better with each season as they expanded on the characters' stories. Plus, my timing was perfect -- I finished last week, just in time for its return for the second half of season 4 tonight (August 24)!

Without going into any spoilery details, here's a short list why you should be watching this excellent show:

Friday, August 21, 2015

Follow Friday - Feminist Steampunk

I found Feminist Steampunk on Facebook somewhat by a happy accident. I was hooked the minute I scanned their page: so many stories about seriously kickass women in history! And some great steampunk costume and item posts as well, of course.

The page is curated by Wilhelmina Thomas, who is an amazing woman in her own right. In addition to running this page, she's a cos-player, student of history, docent at Oak Hill Cemetery and volunteer at the Birmingham Museum of Art. And, on top of all that, she's busy earning an Associate degree in Architectural Design and Drafting Technology!

I was fortunate enough to be able to chat with her about the work she does for Feminist Steampunk.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Music Break - Elle King

If, like me, you have a hole in your life where the Dixie Chicks used to be, mourn no longer. Elle King is here to save the day. Her album Love Stuff is chock full of alt-country feminist hotness.

Not too long ago John Scalzi posted this video on his blog and it's pretty much been on repeat here since. Such a great song flipping the usual story about the guy who "loves 'em and leaves 'em." Her voice is so sexy and scratchy, and the lyrics are exceptionally liberated. And, you know, a little eye-candy in the video doesn't hurt.

Ex's & Oh's

Well, I had me a boy, turned him into a man
I showed him all the things that he didn't understand
Whoa, and then I let him go
Now, there's one in California who's been cursing my name
Cause I found me a better lover in the UK
Hey, hey, until I made my getaway

One, two, three, they gonna run back to me
Cause I'm the best baby that they never gotta keep
One, two, three, they gonna run back to me
They always wanna come, but they never wanna leave

Ex's and the oh, oh, oh's they haunt me
Like ghosts they want me to make 'em all
They won't let go
Ex's and oh's

I had a summer lover down in New Orleans
Kept him warm in the winter, left him frozen in the spring
My, my, how the seasons go by
I get high, and I love to get low
So the hearts keep breaking, and the heads just roll
You know that's how the story goes

One, two, three, they gonna run back to me
Cause I'm the best baby that they never gotta keep
One, two, three, they gonna run back to me
They always wanna come, but they never wanna leave

Ex's and the oh, oh, oh's they haunt me
Like ghosts they want me to make 'em all
They won't let go
My ex's and the oh, oh, oh's they haunt me
Like ghosts they want me to make 'em all
They won't let go
Ex's and oh's

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Movie Night - The Last of the Blonde Bombshells

A couple of weeks ago a friend visited and shared her HBO-Go login with me, which was very kind of her*. Mainly, we spent our time watching Veep, because why wouldn't you? But later I started to explore other shows and movies I wasn't able to see elsewhere. And that's how I found out about The Last of of the Blonde Bombshells starring Dame Judi Dench, whom I adore. It also has Olympia Dukakis and Ian Holm. What's not to love?

We meet Elizabeth at her husband's funeral. She's a woman recently unmoored from the role of wife and mother, and who finally feels free to explore her own interests again, much to the chagrin of her children who've only ever known her as "mum."

Her granddaughter finds her in the attic playing a tenor sax. (And playing it well, I might add.) And thus we learn of Elizabeth's former life. When she was 15, long before marriage and children, she played in the almost-all-girl wartime band The Blonde Bombshells.

Looking for an outlet for her music, she starts playing alongside a busker, where her children discover her one day and try to "talk some sense" into her. They are appalled, and try to appeal to her sense of dignity, asking her "what would the neighbors think?" Of course, she's having none of it. She's quite happy to continue.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Kickstart This!

I'm just now starting to get into RPGing after never having tried it before in my 40-something years of playing games. Whoa! Is it fun! Anyway, while I'm enjoying my goblin-massacring dwarf healer-fighter hybrid, I've been curious about getting out of the fantasy worlds and looking for things based in the real world.

That's where War Birds comes in. It sounds like a perfect next level RPG for the women's history nerd in me!
Designed by an international team of women writers, War Birds presents fun-to-play, easy-to-run games that let you explore exciting stories you might not have heard before: Striking factory workers torn apart by hatred, or women aviators struggling to find sisterhood and freedom in the skies.These games are designed to give you everything you need to know to run or play them - with no research required.

I was fortunate to be able to chat with the brilliant game designer behind War Birds, Moyra Turkington of Unruly Designs. Seriously, go back this series ASAP!